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The One and the Many: Adjudication in Collegial Courts

Lewis A. Kornhauser and Lawrence G. Sager
California Law Review
Vol. 81, No. 1 (Jan., 1993), pp. 1-59
DOI: 10.2307/3480783
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3480783
Page Count: 59
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The One and the Many: Adjudication in Collegial Courts
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Abstract

This Article explores a problem that may occur in appellate cases in which two or more issues present themselves. In these problematic cases, the court may reach a decision as to outcome in one of two ways, either by summing the votes of individual judges as to the outcome of the case overall, or by summing the votes of individual judges on each of the issues and then combining the results. The two methods of decisionmaking can lead to different results. This "doctrinal paradox" is unfortunate because cases are supposed to be decided on their merits rather than by an unconsidered choice of voting protocol. Professors Kornhauser and Sager argue that neither of the decisional methods is always superior. Rather, appellate courts, as "collegial enterprises," should directly confront the doctrinal paradox when it arises and deliberately determine the method of case decision that will control. Professors Kornhauser and Sager suggest that the best method for choosing between decisional methods is a "metavote," with members of a court voting for a particular method after discussing such factors as whether the outcome or rationales for it are more important, whether the issues to be decided are independent, the seriousness of the consequences of the outcome, hierarchical management concerns, and internal management considerations.

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